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Mercy in our Misery May 11, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Random Musings.
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Joe,

Well, I finally have a few minutes to write about the lesson that I learned last weekend at my cousin’s wedding in Pennsylvania. Of course, I have been promising to write about this for so many days now that the actual lesson may be a bit of a let-down. But any time God speaks to us we can certainly not conceive of it as a let-down. What an extraordinary gift we have in that God uses even the smallest acts and details of our lives to reveal truth to us.

Almost two years ago my aunt passed away from cancer. This past weekend, her daughter (my cousin) got married. During the reception, the matron of honor made mention of remembering those friends and family members who were no longer with us to enjoy the day with us. Of course, foremost in many of our thoughts was my aunt.

There was a brief blessing over the food, and when I looked up, I was surprised to see that some of my immediate family members were in tears as they thought about my aunt, who because of cancer was not able to share in this special day for her daughter. My dad, who is not an emotional person, had tears in his eyes because of the loss of his sister. Both my sisters, ages 22 and 17, were also in tears.

I’m not sure why I was surprised that they had tears, for obviously death is a painful thing to deal with, especially the unexpected and painful death that comes from cancer. I began to reflect on these tears of my family members, and it hit me what a merciful gift they were from our heavenly Father. Those tears were, I believe, the expression of a truth written on the heart of every human being: that this world is broken.

While the tears certainly came because of missing my aunt, I think they especially were a manifestation that my family members realize that all is not as it should be in the world. If the world were as it should be, moms would be there to witness the joy of their daughter on their wedding days. My aunt was not there. There was something deeply wrong about that, and I think the tears of my family members were a manifestation that they knew that this world is not as it ought to be.

Isn’t that a precious gift from above? That God uses the pain in our lives to teach us the lesson that the world is ‘groaning’ (to use a words from Romans 8) and in need of redemption. The tears of my family members were a gift from the Almighty bidding them to seek the Redeemer who makes all things new, including our own hearts. The tears were an invitation from our Maker to come to the One who redeems our sufferings and our sin.  The day is coming when the risen Christ will return and “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

Despite God’s merciful calling to them in their tears, my family chose to harden their hearts and resist this merciful invitation from the Lord. Within a couple of minutes of their tears, my dad was sending an email on his Blackberry. My sisters moved on as though nothing had happened. The merciful moment of pain had passed, and they were back in their own worlds, devoid of God and without hope.  I sat there wondering, what kind of pain will the Lord have to bring into their lives to get them to stop and think about reality for more than 20 or 30 seconds?

It did not occur to me when this all happened to talk to them about their tears, and what the Lord might have been saying to them in those tears. But, Lord willing, I will have opportunity in the days to come. Pray for them. Like all of humanity, they are desperately in need of God opening their eyes to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Without that miracle happening in our hearts, even the mercy in our miseries will be quickly ignored. One thing was clear to me though: the deep pain that springs from this world’s brokenness is a merciful gift from a loving God, intended to point us to the great hope of redemption through Jesus Christ.

Larry

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